This is a guest review.
Hi folks! Jose Cua here. I’m an artist in the games and animation industry and a lover of tech art gadgets. I’ve been a long time Wacom user starting from the Graphire series all the way to the Cintiq’s and Cintiq companions. I’ve also used other brands from Samsung, Xp-pen, Huion, Ugee, and I’m always on the lookout for new art tools to try.
Parblo has been kind enough to send me one of their latest tablet monitors the Parblo Mast10. As with all my other reviews this will be an honest review with the artist in mind.
The Parblo Mast10 is the upgraded version of the Parblo Coast10. It is a compact tablet that features 6 express keys. The pen works well with 2048 levels of pressure and responds to very light touches (low initial activation force).
The screen is matte and has a nice papery feel that allows your hand to slide around effortlessly. While the 1280x800 resolution might seem small, it is actually sufficient for a 10” display and what it lacks in size it makes up for portability.
Compared to some larger models, device does not require an external power supply and the pen doesn’t need to be charged, making it great for those for those on the go. In terms of size and weight, it is just as light and actually smaller than an Intuos pro medium, which makes it easy to carry around, and it is also priced less!
Everything you need can be fit in the bag that it comes with. Priced at $299, it is a good value for artists who are on a budget but still want to draw directly on the screen, or artists who want to have something that they can easily put in a bag and carry around.
Here's what's in the box
(Image taken from Amazon) As you can see Parblo was quite generous with the accessories it came with.
Best of all everything you need to bring the device around can fit in the bag they have provided. (2 cables, and pen)
Upon first inspection the build quality feels great. It has a nice plastic finish, and feels sturdy in the hand. It comes with 6 express keys which have a nice matte rubbery texture over them and a very tactile feel when pressing. Depending on whether you are left or right handed you can rotate the tablet so the express keys are on the left or the right.
Underneath the tablet monitor there are rubber tips that prevent it from slipping around while you rest it on a table.
At 1.4lbs/0.675kg the tablet is very light to carry around. The tablet is 301.88mm (L) x 209.6mm (W) x 11.95mm (H). Similar in size and weight to an Ipad Pro 12.9 with a casing, which makes it small and thin enough to easily slip in backpacks, or laptop bags.
While it doesn’t come with a stand there a few options for it.
Actto book stand
I tested it for a while with the Actto book stand. This is able to stay locked at multiple angles even with my arm resting on it. There was a bit of wobbling when I shifted the weight too much to one side but that didn’t really bother me that much.
Ergotron Arm and Laptop Mount
Another possible setup would be with a monitor arm (like an ergotron) and a vesa compatible laptop mount. I use these with larger tablets that don’t have Vesa mounts on them. This setup is much more versatile as you can adjust the height and angle of the monitor but the price might be a bit much for such a small tablet.
The screen is a 10.1-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280x800 with a 75 percent Adobe RGB color gamut. It has a pretty good viewing angle which allows you to work on the tablet at an angle while it lays flat on the table. While the resolution might seem small at first it is actually more than sufficient for a screen of this size. There is minimal pixelation in text unless you look really closely. The tablet comes with a pre-installed matte screen protector which is Ideal for me. The matte screen reduces the amount of glare in direct light and allows your hand to glide smoothly on the screen as you draw, paint, or sculpt. Each time I receive or buy a tablet monitor that isn’t a Wacom I always have to go to the electronics shop to attach a screen protector to enhance the drawing experience, I’m glad I didn’t have to do that with this device.
One con I’d like to point out is the parallax. When using the book stand or the ergotron arm I work at an almost vertical orientation, which has minimal parallax, if you were to work at a lower angle or completely flat the parallax would be more obvious as you can see on the image on the right. While evident, it's actually not too obvious unless you are working with very small lines and zoomed out quite a bit. This is a common issue with other tablet monitors because the glass surface will have a little bit of thickness to it, Cintiqs also have it although not as much, but I have gotten used to it after a few minutes of drawing. It's not really a big deal.
The Pen Performance
I was pleasantly surprised by how the pen performed. Pressure sensitivity feels great at 2048 levels and while we were not able to adjust the pressure curve with the inbuilt driver setup, I was able to do so using an app called Lazy Nezumi This is what I use to adjust pressure curves on Ugee, XP-Pen, and Huion tablet monitors, it works just as well with the Parblo device.
To me what matters more than pressure levels (anything above 1028 levels is usually fine for me) is the “initial activation force”. That is the force required to register a mark on a tablet. Wacom Cintiq’s are the best in this area and are able to respond to the slightest of touches. Even with a top brand like Microsoft’s surface Pro or the older Samsung Galaxy Tabs you need to press slightly harder to register a stroke. I found that the Parblo Mast10 performed well and had a better activation force than a microsoft surface pro and a samsung galaxy tab, but was not as sensitive as a wacom cintiq. This is not exactly a bad point as even the top brands have these issues but I thought it would be good to keep the readers aware. The pen comes with two buttons which I mapped to middle and right click. It responded pretty well and had no issues. It has a nice tactile clicky feel to it which I like.
One cool feature I found was that if I wanted to draw on a larger monitor I could map the tablet to my second larger monitor and use it as if it was a normal non monitor graphics tablet. This could be useful if you would like to move the cursor to the other screen while multitasking or if you’d like to just sketch loosely before bringing it back to the tablet monitor to touch up the details. Wacom had a shortcut key for this “toggle monitor” which I would map the the express keys to switch from one screen to the next quickly. Parblo doesn’t have yet but I have contacted them and hope that they can try to implement it in the next driver update.
Now for the cons. One thing I did notice was when trying to draw very small circles (like 1-2mm big) it wouldn’t register, it is not a big matter as I don’t see people doing that often but I thought it was worth mentioning. Tapping to draw dots were fine though. Another thing to keep in mind is when you are starting up Windows 10, you might find that the pen isn’t working. Don’t worry this is just because the driver hasn’t loaded yet, just wait a few seconds or a minute for all the startup programs to load up and the pen should start working.
While the pen has its quirks, I think these are things we can get used to over time, I still feel it has more pro’s than cons.
Here are some line tests in different apps.
Photoshop worked well throughout the test, I was able to get a good range of pressure after using Lazy Nezumi. Not much jittering as well. The tablet performed fine with with Sketchbook Pro
The tablet performed just as well in Medibang as it did in Photoshop, except when trying to just tap to draw dots. Perhaps it is a brush setting but I am unfamiliar with the program. The tablet performed fine with Krita as with the previous apps tested.
The tablet had some issues working with Sai at the start. There was a huge cursor offset, so I googled the issue and it seems to be a common thing with Sai and UC logic devices.
Here is the solution:
Exit out of sai, and right click the program, go to properties. Then you go to Compatibility, and check "display scaling in high dpi settings". Start sai and see if it works.
If that doesn’t solve the problem follow the next steps:
Exit Sai. Open the misc.ini file via notepad. Make sure TabletCursorMode = 1 and TabletMouseSimulation= 0 Save the file. Restart your Computer.
Everything worked fine inside of Sai after applying this solution.
These sketches were done in Photoshop.
Here’s a quick test with Zbrush and Keyshot. No issues with the tablet working with those programs.
Overall I am happy with the tablet. I felt it performed well in the tests. It had nice sensitivity and initial activation force compared to the other non wacom tablets I have tried over time. Although it is quite small, it comes at a great price point which makes it easy to consider for those just getting into digital art and want to buy a device that they can draw directly on, or for those who want a tablet screen they can bring around.
Here are a summary of the pros and cons
+ Nice Build Quality
+ Size (for those who want something compact and mobile)
+ Light and compact (Smaller than an Intuos Pro Medium)
+ Minimal Cables, No need for Power Supply
+ Easy to set up and install Drivers
+ Pre attached Matte screen protector for papery feel
+ IPS panel with good viewing angles
+ Mappable Express Keys
+ 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity
+ Fairly low initial activation force (almost cintiq-like)
+ Jitter is non existent or very little
+ Reasonably Priced
+ Works well with Photoshop, Zbrush
+ Comes with lots of freebies (pouch, glove, converters, nibs)
- Size (for those who prefer large screen)
- Parallax is quite evident on a small screen which can affect accuracy when not zoomed in
- Very small 1-2mm movements are hard to detect (only if you draw that small)
- Limited driver/stylus customizability (pressure curve controls in next driver update I hope)
- Lack of mappable toggle screen switch function (next driver update I hope!)
- Would be nicer if it had a stand (but will work on stable book stands)